Although ‘To Bee a Honey’ turned out well, the process or revising the book after receiving feedback from close friends was slightly overwhelming. I also had to be the devil and angel to the manuscript. As a reader, I was emotionally attached and invested in my book, and as a writer, I had to put aside my attachments and emotions to communicate my thoughts well.
I have not been able to blog as much as I should because I am working on some projects, one of which is my third book. This post is about my experience; struggles and joys while writing my third book. This is not a spoiler alert and you are still in for a surprise regardless of whatever I tell you. Let’s dive in!
I met someone recently at a networking event, and explained to her that I am not the type of writer that sits to write a book. I write different things at different places, and when I think I have enough to make a draft, I put everything together into a word file and begin editing, adding and revision until it is perfect.
To Bee a Honey’ started from a bunch of poems that I abandoned in files on my laptop, notes on my phone, text messages to friends, small papers and sticky notes tucked in pockets of my handbags. It may also surprise many to know that the first section of ‘To Bee a Honey’ titled ‘The Taking’ was a short story that I posted on my blog early last year. I did not feel like I had done enough justice to explaining the character and her feelings through a short story, so I broke it into many pieces and redesigned the words to physically exemplify their interpretations. I wanted the readers to feel the emotions that the character(s) in ‘To Bee a Honey’ felt and expressed. Although ‘To Bee a Honey’ turned out well, the process or revising the book after receiving feedback from close friends was slightly overwhelming. I also had to be the devil and angel to the manuscript. As a reader, I was emotionally attached and invested in my book, and as a writer, I had to put aside my attachments and emotions to communicate my thoughts well.
'To Bee a Honey' changed my mindset about book writing and creativity. Particularly, it helped me to realize Mark Zuckerberg's words; from a speech that he gave at Harvard University. He said;
"Ideas don't come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started. If I had to know everything about connecting people before I got started, I never would have built Facebook."
I am currently working on my third book titled The Silence We Eat. I thought that I would release it around August this year, but I have changed my mind. I don’t have a new date in mind which makes the process even more exciting and less stressful for me.
I am going through the same process as I did for ‘To Bee a Honey’ however, the doubt, fears, and excitement that I felt with ‘To Bee a Honey’ feels new again with this piece. At least, twice every week, I reread the whole manuscript and revise it based on new feedback that I get from my close friends.
I have doubts and fears because the book combines various genres and it is written in this weird way that I have not seen in the book market. The themes of the book are very melancholic, and in a worse way than ‘To Bee a Honey’. The imageries in my third book will soak the reader in, to become participants of the story-line. This is intentional, because, it puts the reader in a position to rethink their public reactions to unfortunate events like divorce, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and mental health issues. It also allows the reader to rethink the roles that several institutions like family, religion, education etc. play in our healing processes and well-being.
My third book does not have the Olivia Pope or Anna Mae Keating type of mystery. You know what is coming for you, but the reading experience is different and as a reader, you will be forced to have empathy for the character(s).
Also, the character(s) in my third book are connected yet, separate, and they almost feel like a version of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange (1997). The relationship between the stories and the character(s) is comparable to the characters in Junot Diaz’s books. The character(s) in my third book can be separate or bound by experiences and voices or the lack of it. I have written my third book in a way that it appeals to readers who can connect to the whole book, and to readers who find themselves in specific sections or stories in the book, yet, feel as whole.
Towards the end of the book, you’ll experience my Nigerianess, and see its effect in love and relationships. These parts of the book are the brightest, and most humorous. Some characters in this book are real. Some are from my personal experiences, and some, I found in the comment sections on Instagram posts.
I am gaining guidance to finish this third book by reading other books. So far, I have gained guidance to convey my ideas through books like; Hunger by Roxanne Gay, This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz and The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit.
I will be sharing my progress with my third book continuously. Right now, the work is becoming whole and I keep reading it repeatedly to correct the grammar, add and remove ideas. I am also at that point whereby I am very critical of the book. It is hard for me to accept when someone tells me the book is really good. I am desperately craving for detailed feedback about areas that need improvement and my close friends are assisting with that.
I am looking forward to the day when my third book will become a finished product, and I will compare it to the first draft with few pages and big grammatical blunders that I had.
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© Oyindamola Shoola 2020